The state’s moose biologist, Lee Kantar, says big moose can come from anywhere in the state, but the fact is many big ones taken in the fall hunt come from northern Maine.

“That may be because we have a lot more woods, and there is just a bigger moose population to choose from,” said Sara Anderson, co-owner of Northstar Variety in New Sweden, about 10 miles north of Caribou.

Over the past 12 years, “piles” of big moose have been tagged at Northstar Variety, Anderson said, as many as 18 over 1,000 pounds and three whoppers pushing 1,200 pounds.

When that happens, the calls start coming in to the store asking and alerting locals that there’s a big one.

That was the case on Sept. 28 when Michael LaPlante of Harpswell proved that while not many people tag a moose over 1,100 pounds, anyone can.

LaPlante’s 1,192-pound moose came out of his first ever moose hunt, and his first hunt.

“They’re calling it a monster,” LaPlante said.

LaPlante’s moose, while not a state record, was “a smasher” nonetheless, according to Kantar.

The state record for moose was set by a 1,330-pound bull taken by Willard and Sterling Waterman from New Gloucester in 1982 in Marsadis, about 30 miles southwest of Presque Isle.

LaPlante’s big 17-point bull was a bit of a Cinderella story.

LaPlante grew up on a potato farm in Van Buren in the hunting district where he was drawn. But he had never hunted and never even watched a moose hunt.

Still he was resigned to not just drive the logging roads, but really get out and find a big moose. And maybe that was the difference.

“I’m not a heater hunter. The heck with that. I went right into the woods, across two streams, a half mile in,” said LaPlante, 60.

LaPlante hunted alone. And he wanted a big bull.

“I did it all by myself,” he said. “I saw him the first day. He was watching me. He filled up the whole trail, like a mirage, like a phantom. When he turned, I hesitated because I wanted a good shot, so I let him go.”

The next morning LaPlante said it was raining hard.

But he found the big tracks he was looking for and followed them, maybe half a mile.

“He smelled me and we played a little game,” said LaPlante with a French-Canadian accent.

“I took my time. It was on my bucket list. I got a new rifle for it.”

He took the giant moose in Van Buren after stalking it.

After he finally found it and shot it, he needed a chain saw to cut through the thick woods to get it out, in heavy rain no less.

“I put out a call and a few hunting parties came to help. I had to cross a stream. It was quite a chore,” LaPlante said.

 

Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at:

[email protected]